Perhaps you’re looking to move and are trying to make the difficult decision between Portugal or Spain. Completely understandable when you think of the lovely weather, beautiful beaches and seaside towns that both countries have.
Ultimately, for many people, the cost of living will be a huge, if not the biggest factor in deciding which country is ultimately the right one for them. So what is the cost of living Portugal vs Spain.
Cost of living Portugal vs Spain
This article will examine some of the most important costs of living such as renting/buying property, utilities, food/drink and education in order to determine whether Portugal or Spain offers a better cost of living, which may help you in making that difficult decision between the two countries.
Property prices in both countries (like in many other countries around the world) will be dependent on the size of the property and its location, with property in and around city centres being more expensive than those more rurally located.
In Portugal, an average 1-bed apartment in a city centre will cost approximately €589.22 per month, while in Spain this will average at €640.97.
A one-bed outside of the city will cost you €462.93 on average in Portugal and €493.96 in Spain.
Overall, rent prices in Spain tend to be, on average, 2.78% higher in Spain than they are in Portugal.
If you would be considering buying property, the approximate price per square metre in the city centre, in Portugal is €2517.47 and in Spain, this would be €2964.15. Outside the city, costs would be €1658.76 per square metre for Portugal and €1946.60 for Spain. So again, property prices are cheaper in Portugal than in Spain, if you would be looking to buy.
Thinking about house prices, however, doesn’t mean much if you don’t know what your average monthly income may be! This is an area where Spain does do better than Portugal, with the average monthly income coming in at €1411.33 in Spain and €869.93 in Portugal.
Of course, this is just an approximate figure and it will be dependent on your specific career and job title. There are many sites available where you can check figures for specific jobs in each country and a quick google search will lead you to these.
Also, don’t be worried or disheartened, if you’re leaning towards Portugal but worried about this monthly amount. While it is less than Spain, as this article will continue to demonstrate, the overall cost of living in Portugal is great and you can manage to live well with this amount!
Whether renting or buying, you’re also going to have utility costs to deal with. Both countries feature pleasant weather all year round, with temperatures very rarely, if ever, dropping below freezing in either country. This means compared to countries such as the UK for example, both will likely be significantly cheaper overall for electricity etc.
The total utility cost (so electricity, water, garbage etc) in Portugal averages at €101.53, with it being slightly more expensive in Spain, coming in at €116.59 per month.
Internet costs will likely be of interest to most of you. There’s very little difference in price between Portugal and Spain for monthly internet costs, approx €33.15 for Portugal and €37.93 for Spain.
Food and drinks
Upon the surface, when you look at individual prices for a variety of different grocery items, while they are slightly more expensive in Spain, it doesn’t look like it would be a significant factor. However, it does add up, with grocery prices on the whole, coming in 17.96% more expensive per year for Spain than Portugal.
For example, a litre of milk will cost you €0.63 in Portugal, €0.78 in Spain. Cheese will cost €6.79 per kg in Portugal and €9.98 in Spain.
Dining out is also more expensive in Spain than in Portugal, 29.80% more expensive on average, to be exact!
An average 3-course meal for two in a mid-priced restaurant will come in around €32 in Portugal and over €40 for Spain. A cappuccino in Portugal will be around €1.40 in Portugal and €1.63 in Spain. If you’re after simple water, expect to pay around €0.96 in Portugal and €1.18 in Spain for 0.33 litres.
Alcoholic drinks also tend to be slightly cheaper in Portugal than in Spain, with a mid-range bottle of wine costing €4 in Portugal and €5 in Spain, to buy at a local supermarket.
This may be another significant factor that you are thinking about, whether for yourself or any children you may have.
Both Portugal and Spain offer free government education for children up to university level but of course, this is dependent on your child having a good level of Portuguese/Spanish language knowledge.
If you have pre-school children and would be looking for private childcare, this comes in around €346.13 per month for Portugal and €360.10 for Spain. For an international, English speaking primary school, the yearly cost would be €7363.78 for Portugal and slightly cheaper for Spain at €7168.49.
For university-level education, the cost is highly dependent on whether you are looking at attending a public or private university. Public university costs are much cheaper than private, with private being able to set their own prices which can be anything up to €20,000 per year!
For public universities in Portugal (such as Porto University), average prices are €3000-7000 per year for Bachelors/Masters degrees and €2500-4000 per year for PhDs.
For public universities in Spain, these costs average at €750-2500 per year for Bachelors’s degrees and €1000-3500 for Master’s/PhDs.
Lessons also tend to be taught in both English and Portuguese/Spanish, so you don’t have to worry about any language barrier interfering with your ability to study.
Let’s examine the facts that we’ve shown, while average monthly wages are less in Portugal than in Spain, rent prices in Spain are generally 2.78% higher than in Portugal. Restaurant prices average out at 29.80% higher in Spain than in Portugal, and groceries are 17.96% higher in Spain than in Portugal.
So despite earning less initially, you’re paying out less on the daily essentials that everyone needs to survive!
If then, we are focusing solely on the cost of living factors, then it would seem that, on this basis, Portugal would be the better option for most people!
If you enjoyed this article on the cost of living Portugal vs Spain, you might also like to read this Spain and Portugal Itinerary 14 days and The Best Universities in Portugal